Orange as a Pumpkin
I was having stomach pains and vomiting a disgusting unusual substance. I went to the ER twice in the same day. During my second visit, I was admitted and they performed a colonoscopy. I needed to have emergency colostomy surgery to remove part of my colon. I developed sepsis and was in the ICU for a week. All of my organs were failing. I received four dialysis treatments; I was as orange as a pumpkin from my liver shutting down. Dr. Shedd and Dr. Erickson, along with their great nurses at Columbus Regional Hospital, saved my life. I had to re-learn how to walk and do other basic activities during my two weeks of physical therapy. I am very lucky to be alive.
A 20 Percent Chance of Survival
On a Sunday morning, I woke up in pain. A trip to the ER revealed that I had a kidney stone. I was sent home with pain medications and was told to follow up with my general practitioner. Later that day, I experienced severe chills, colder than I have ever felt. Now I know that severe chills are one of the first signs of sepsis. My sister called the ER, and they told her that their waiting room was full but she could bring me back if necessary. We opted not to go. My conditions worsened, and by Wednesday, I was in the hospital with a 20 percent chance of surviving. I had septic shock, which attacked my lungs, and I had ARDS (acute respiratory distress shock). Three months later, I was finally on the way to a full recovery. Miracles do happen. In hindsight, if I had known the symptoms of sepsis, I could have recognized what was happening and been proactive in my health care.
Lucky to Survive
I got sepsis last month after having a prostate biopsy. The E. coli bacteria that rode the biopsy needle into my bloodstream was resistant to the antibiotic they gave me prior to and after the procedure. I had the biopsy on a Wednesday, and by Friday after lunch I started feeling ill. I thought I was coming down with the flu. Saturday morning, I realized I had a UTI and had my wife take me to the prompt-med clinic. The doctor there told me I had a "rip roaring" UTI. He gave me the strongest antibiotic he could, and said it would knock the infection in 24 hours. That evening my fever spiked at 104.7, and I was shaking with chills. I woke up the next morning in a pool of sweat, but my fever was down to 100; I thought the antibiotic was working. Later that morning, my fever, chills and severe shaking were back. My wife called an ambulance, and I was transported to the ER. The ER doctors and staff were very good and quickly diagnosed my illness. I was admitted and seemed to be stabilized at 4 a.m., but at 6:30 a.m. my fever spiked again. I was shaking so badly and was so short of breath I thought I was going to die. My blood oxygen level was down to 88 and they couldn't get it up. The doctor came in and immediately transferred me to the ICU. A chest x-ray revealed that I had fluid on my lungs. The fluid was collecting in my lungs because of the stress of the infection. The doctor also told me that the blood work showed an elevation in the enzymes that can indicate a heart attack. They said the elevation in enzymes was due to the stress sepsis was putting on my heart and lungs. I spent another day in the ICU until they cleared me to return to a general care room. I had to stay there another night, and most of the next day while they determined what the bacteria was in my bloodstream and what antibiotic would kill it. Finally, they determined that the bacteria was E. coli. This all happened to me just one month ago, and I returned to work two weeks ago. I am doing fairly well, but still get tired easily and am taking Keflex daily. From what I have read and been told about sepsis, I think I am lucky to have survived. I am 66 years old and in good physical condition, eating right and exercising regularly. If I had some other health issues it might have not gone so well for me. My advice to anyone who starts experiencing these symptoms is do not hesitate to seek proper medical care!
A Deadly Diagnosis
My husband was admitted to the hospital with a high fever and given antibiotics. After being in the ICU for a week, he was taken to rehab. This back-and-forth was repeated for nine weeks. Each time his fever would go down they would try rehab, and each time he ended up back in the ICU. He was given antibiotics each time, but they were never able to diagnose the infection. He died from sepsis after the last time he was taken to ICU.
Patsy, West Harrison
Camping Trip Gone Wrong
My husband was diagnosed with sepsis in 2015. We were camping in Tennessee when he became very ill. Suddenly, he was vomiting, had a fever and chills and was experiencing muscle spasms and weakness. It was relentless. After watching this go on for an entire day, we went to a local hospital who immediately transferred him to a hospital in Nashville. The doctors were excellent, and we thank God he recovered. He spent a whole week in the ICU, including three days pumping his stomach and five days of strong IV antibiotics. I am so grateful for the doctors at St. Thomas for their wisdom in treating him and saving his life.
The Doctor Asked If I’d Like To See A Priest
Due to having breast cancer, I had a port inserted into my chest to assist with my chemotherapy. After my first round of chemo, my port became infected with MRSA. A week and a half later I found myself in the emergency room with sepsis. I only remember snippets of my month long stay in the hospital, but when the doctor asked if I’d like to see a priest I realized exactly how sick I was. I have since slowly improved and am no longer on my death bed.
Debra, North Port
My Brother-in-Law Hadn’t Felt Well for a Couple Days
He had flu-like symptoms and the doctor diagnosed him with pneumonia. On the third day of his symptoms persisting, my sister took him to a small local emergency room. The emergency room also thought it was pneumonia, admitted him and started him on antibiotics. Within an hour, he started having difficulty breathing, and an ambulance transported him to a larger hospital. He stopped breathing on the way. By the time I arrived, only 10 minutes after the ambulance, his skin was mottled and he was totally unresponsive. I have worked in emergency medicine on ambulances and in the fire service for 43 years and, aside from traumatic events, I have never seen anything progress so quickly. He was a great guy, and I miss him a lot. He was never sick and took good care of himself. His death was tragic and unexpected. I had never heard of sepsis until I saw the coroner’s report.
A Feverish Race to Survival
A few years ago, I had a stent put into my kidney due to a stone that would not pass. There is pain while the stone is inside, but even when it had passed I was experiencing terrible pain. I had gotten it on a weekday, and by Friday of that week I was still hurting, but things felt different. I woke up Saturday morning chilled and I took my temperature and found that it was 103 degrees. My whole body ached and felt awful. The fever was still rising so I had blood tests taken and was put on an IV. I had sepsis. I couldn't believe it. They admitted me into the hospital where I had blood tests every two to four hours to ensure that the antibiotics were working. I looked like a pin cushion from all the blood tests and IVs, but I survived, thanks to the good Lord above. Many people who get sepsis do not turn out as fortunate.
A Long Recovery
Earlier this year I had been dealing with a slight earache for approximately three months. I was prescribed antibiotics and prednisone to help fight it off. On May 5, I was sick all day with stomach problems. Later that night, I was so weak I couldn’t do anything, and an ambulance was called. May 24 is the next day that I remember; I had been unconscious of my surroundings for 19 days. Hospital staff told me that I died three times and had been intubated for six days, among various other issues involving sepsis. It was a terrifying situation, but the hospital staff were all wonderful people. Eventually, I was sent home from the hospital, one month later, on June 5.
Leigh, Winona Lake
A Seemingly Minor Infection
The summer that I was about 10 years old, my family went camping next to an amusement park with a roller skate arena. I loved to skate and refused to let the fact that I didn't pack any socks keep me from skating with my dirty feet in the much used rental skates. A small blister formed on my right heel from the friction, and the blister became infected. Before I knew it, red streaks were running up my leg from the wound and the lymph nodes in my leg and groin became swollen and painful. I began to run a fever and had severe chills. I was agitated, aggressive and could not sleep. The aspirin I was given did nothing to relieve the pain or control my fever. My parents took me to a local doctor where I was given antibiotics and green soap to cleanse my foot while we were still camping. Thankfully, I recovered fully.
2018 Sepsis Awarness Month Clinical Webinar Series
Analysis of posts from sepsis survivors and victims’ families
on Sepsis Alliance’s Faces of Sepsis website: experienced signs and
symptoms, barriers, |
self-management strategies, interactions prior to sepsis
diagnosis, and recommendations to reduce time to treatment.
See It: Sepsis &
Biomarkers - M. Laura Parnas, Ph.D. and Annie Stock, Pharm.D (Click title to view week 2 webinar)
use in sepsis management and antibiotic treatment decisions: research
update and hospital experience with procalcitonin testing
Stop It: Hospital-Acquired
Pneumonia: Research Update - JoAnn Brooks, Ph.D.,
RN (Click title to view week 3 webinar)
overview of current trends in prevention and treatment of
hospital-acquired pneumonia, the most common cause of sepsis
on sepsis bundle compliance data and associated outcomes, post-sepsis
syndrome, and community awareness
Survive It: Indiana Sep-1
Compliance: Life After Sepsis-Readmissions, Recovery, Community
Outreach, and Sepsis Certification (Click title to view week 4 webinar)
- Rebecca Hancock, RN, Ph.D., Chris Newkirk, BSN,
RN, CCM, and Kacyee Barnett, MSN, RN